Agnipath scheme: Violent protests break out in Bihar

In some places of Bihar, the police had to resort to firing teargas shells to disperse the mobs protesting Agnipath scheme.

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Protestors set up roadblocks in protest against the Agnipath Scheme

Patna: Violence broke out in parts of Bihar over the Centre’s decision to rollout the Agnipath scheme for recruitment of aspirants in the tri-services — Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Indian Navy — for a period of four years. Armed Forces aspirants took to the streets in several parts and resorted to violence such as setting up roadblocks and smashing window panes of trains.

In some places, the police had to resort to firing teargas shells to disperse the mobs. According to reports, in Jehanabad, students pelted stones at the police which included several cops. Stone pelting also took place in Saharsa while in Chapra, the protestors damaged buses and blocked roads.

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In Nawada, aspirants damaged railway properties and shouted expletives at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They also blocked roads and stopped movement of trains.

Meanwhile, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati said the Agnipath scheme is an unfair move towards the rural youths. Taking to Twitter, Mayawati said, “After keeping the Army recruitment pending for a long time, the Centre has announced a new recruitment scheme ‘Agniveer’ with a short duration of four years in the army. Although it has been called an attractive scheme, the youths of the country are angry. They are openly opposing the change in army recruitment system.”

The Union Cabinet on Tuesday had approved a recruitment scheme for Indian youths to serve in the Armed Forces. The youths selected under the Agnipath scheme will be known as Agniveers.

The Agnipath scheme has been designed to enable a youthful profile of the Armed Forces. In a statement, the Cabinet ministry had said, “It (Agnipath) will provide an opportunity to the youths who may be keen to don the uniform by attracting young talents from the society who are more in tune with contemporary technological trends and plough back skilled, disciplined and motivated manpower into the society.”

The statement added, “As for the Armed Forces, it will enhance the youthful profile of the Armed Forces and provide a fresh lease of ‘Josh’ and ‘Jazba’ whilst at the same time bring about a transformational shift towards a more tech savvy Armed Forces – which is indeed the need of the hour.”

Under the Agnipath scheme, about 45,000 people between the age of 17.5 years and 21 years will be inducted into the services for a four-year tenure. During this period, they will be paid a monthly salary between Rs 30,000 and Rs 40,000 plus allowances. They will also be entitled to medical and insurance benefits.

After four years, only 25 per cent of these soldiers will be retained and they will go on to serve for a full 15 years in non-officer ranks. The remaining will exit the services with a package between Rs 11 lakh and Rs 12 lakh but won’t be eligible for pension benefits.

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